I didn’t like this album when it came out, but it’s now easily my favorite Brad album and clearly superior to the only Brad record I had to compare it to at the time, Shame. And what’s not to love? The songs are gorgeous and well-constructed, the sound is luxurious, modern, and comfortably familiar all at the same time. Keyboards are integrated perfectly with Stone Gossard’s fabulously endearing melodies and Shawn Smith’s weepy, heavenly voice. It runs the gamut from exuberant rock (“Secret Girl,” “Lift”) to mournful protest (“Some Never Come Home”) to funk-cum-psychedlia (“Those Three Words”) to arms-spread-wide feel-good uplifting (“The Day Brings”) and remains cohesive all the way through. Sure, it’s got a couple of would-be non-keepers (“Funeral Song” and “Candles”), but there’s nothing that even comes remotely close to bad on here and a couple of the songs contend for Best Song Ever (“The Day Brings” and “Those Three Words”). Music’s a funny thing.
This being the Japanese import version, it’s got a couple of extra tracks: “Seance” and “Heaven Help.” Both are very good, but the band did good to keep them off the album proper as they don’t quite fit. “Heaven Help” is another slow, sad one on an album that didn’t have another such slot to put it in. The other, “Seance,” is not quite finished; it’s bicycle horn instrumentation is fun and exciting, but the carefree feel that brings contrats starkly with the strong emotional context of the rest of the disc.
- Secret Girl –
- The Day Brings – best song ever? Played as I walked down the aisle at my wedding. Yes, I, the groom, had my own music as I walked down the aisle at my wedding. Twice. You wanna make something of that?
- Lift – Full, but if I mix from this album it’s going to be “The Day Brings” or “Those Three Words”
- I Don’t Know – “I don’t know where you come from/I don’t know where you’ve been”
- Upon My Shoulders – Could be much shorter. Very good in parts, but definitely a weak spot on the album.
- Sweet Al George – “No religion is supposed to be fun.” “Greatest thing about the blues/Is man you got nothin’ to lose.”
- Funeral Song – Another weak point where it dips into a slow, sad, minor groove and kind of brings everything way down. A dirge. Repetitive. Good parts, though.
- Circle And Line –
- Some Never Come Home –
- Candles –
- Those Three Words –
- Seance – Clown horn.
- Heaven Help –